Several months ago, I sat in the office of the VP of global sales for a top storage company. He vented to me about his forecast, saying that week after week, quarter after quarter, he has the same two questions:
What’s in the pipeline? What changed?
That’s it. Two questions.
Getting an answer to “What’s in the pipeline?” was easy. He could get numbers for what’s in Commit, Most Likely, Best Case, and Pipeline. He didn’t always trust them (we’ll get to that in a minute), but he could get numbers.
But knowing the total was just a start. He’d start his Monday meeting and realize the $11 million pipeline was down to $9 million. Where did the $2 million go? Change happens, but when the CEO asked him what happened, he needed an answer.
And that’s where he got more annoyed. Getting an answer to “What’s changed?” felt impossible. It felt impossible because, sure, he could assign an ops person to work on it. Which deals closed, pushed, or were lost? Which Commit deals fell through? Which reps made commitments they couldn’t deliver? And which reps were routinely sandbagging? But it took a few days — every time. And by then, he needed the same answers with more recent data.
So he could never understand the changes in time to take action and save the quarter.
If he couldn’t see why his pipeline changed, he couldn’t trust the resulting forecast. Even worse, he wasn’t clear on the big picture of what’s happening in his business and why.
That conversation was the spark for the leap we took with new Clari Flow Analytics — announced and available today.
Our goal was simple: any sales VP or manager — with no help from IT or Ops — should be able to dissect every pipeline change between any two points in time. With no training.
Answers to routine questions like the following had to be a click away:
- Why did the forecast drop by $7 million? Which deals moved? Are they lost forever or just pushed?
- Which Commit deals ended up as pushes or losses? (← In my experience, Commits that don’t come in infuriate sales execs the most because it makes them question the entire forecast)
- How many of our Best Case did we close last quarter? How about the previous quarter?
- Which regions and reps deliver a Commit I can trust?
- Which reps hide strong deals in Pipeline to keep me from asking questions?
With Flow Analytics, answering almost any question about what changed, why it changed, and what deals, regions, and reps made the change goes from nearly impossible to a click or two.
Clari analyzes millions of changes in real time to show you how deals have moved between any two points in time, in an incredibly intuitive and beautiful visualization. We talked to hundreds of reps and managers to understand what they care about around pipeline changes. Their requests boiled down to four things:
- Keep it simple: Once they see it, they should know how to use it
- Show me what matters: What’s been won? Upgraded or downgraded? Slipped or lost? Who made the change? Why? What are we doing about it?
- Make it flexible: Sometimes “this quarter” and “last quarter” don’t cut it. Show changes between any two points in time to fit in-quarter analysis or QBR post-mortems.
- Make it actionable: Moving from the full-team perspective to taking action on individual deals used to require different tools. Instead, make roll ups and drill downs trivial: from the full organization to individual reps to specific deals … and even deal details like email flow and the next scheduled meeting … all with a few clicks. And then immediately return to the big picture.
I hope you’re intrigued, because this is Flow Analytics. The spark from that sales VP conversation ignited into a full-blown analytics tool that may tell you more about your pipeline in one sitting than you’ve gotten in the last year of reports.
And what’s really cool is if you click here and let us show you, you can be using Clari in less than two minutes. Seriously. I know that sounds crazy, but for the sake of your sales pipeline and a confidence boost in your next executive staff meeting, make us prove it to you.